Holliman A J (ed) (2014) The Routledge International Companion to Educational Psychology London: Routledge
Pages: 351 (including index)
The book is divided into four parts. Section 1 is an introduction to educational psychology. Section 2 deals with the way in which children learn; Section 3 discusses issues concerning the assessment of children and finally section 4 relates of identification of and meeting the needs of children with specific learning difficulties. The sections have four, nine, eight and eleven chapters respectively and each chapter has approximately 10 pages.
The book begins with an introduction from the editor in which he explains that although inclusive practices have advanced significantly with children and young people with disabilities no longer being thought of as ‘uneducable’. He explains that there is now a worldwide movement towards the fact that all pupils and young people have a right to be educated together.
Some chapters focus on specific regions of the world but are of importance internationally and others are more exclusive to the region or countries concerned so that applying the information across boundaries is not recommended.
The first section considers the history and development of educational psychology. It explores the challenges between policy and practice particularly between the rights of the child and educational practices.
The second theme discusses learning theories including behaviourism and social constructivism and how these have translated into teaching and learning practice within the classroom. The section continues to examine inclusive classrooms in Canada, a comparison between the development of literacy and word reading within Chinese and English schools and finally the influence of new technologies to support children’s independent reading and comprehension and scientific reasoning. This section finishes with a consideration of factors that can impact on motivation such as family relationships and child stress levels.
The first chapter in the third section concentrates on assessment of the child’s learning difficulty by examining the different classroom assessments available and how these can be used to enhance learning. Following this, the other chapters in this section present and debate the challenges and controversies, use and abuse of various assessment processes. For example the use of a language focused assessment may disadvantage bilingual or pupils with English as an additional language. This section also has a chapter on brain based learning and the information teachers’ can gain from neuroscientists’ research and the section closes with a chapter on the effect of labelling children on the child, school or assessment processes.
The final section considers how to meet the needs of children with learning difficulties with the initial two chapters discussing the origins and developments of inclusive practice. The rest of the chapters in this section examine the identification of and provision for a range of learning difficulties such as children with visual and speech impairment, autism, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and those who are gifted and talented. The chapters dealing with specific learning difficulties follow the same pattern in that they include identification strategies and intervention strategies and it is suggested that these chapters are read in conjunction with the final chapter in Section 3 on the labelling of children with learning difficulties.
The book is designed to go further than explanations of the key researchers in the field of educational psychology and cover current issues, latest research and future developments in the field of educational psychology from an international perspective. There are many references at the end of each chapter to allow the reader further exploration of key ideas explored in the chapter. The contributors’ contact details also are displayed at the end of the relevant chapters.
Although it is intended that the book is read sequentially I think it would be useful to dip into sections of particular interest, for example the final section that details specific learning difficulties.
Sue Faragher, Liverpool John Moore University.